The Dream Team: Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney and Peter Martins join forces to create a new piece for New York City Ballet
With four world premieres on the lineup, the 2011-2012 season at New York City Ballet is sure to be exciting. But the company’s most anticipated new work, Ocean’s Kingdom, comes from a trio of creative masters: It features choreography by NYCB ballet master in chief Peter Martins, a score by former Beatles front man Paul McCartney and red carpet–worthy costumes by fashion designer (and Sir Paul’s daughter) Stella McCartney.
The piece tells a Little Mermaid-esque story, with NYCB principals Sara Mearns, Amar Ramasar and Robert Fairchild dancing the leads. Also debuting in Ocean’s Kingdom is senior corps de ballet member Georgina Pazcoguin, who chatted with DS about her role as Scala in the groundbreaking premiere.
Dance Spirit: How did you find out you’d be dancing a lead role in Ocean’s Kingdom?
Georgina Pazcoguin: Ballet mistress Rosemary Dunleavy pulled me aside one day. She said, “You’re going to be one of the leads in the new Peter ballet.” I was like, “Excuse me?” She said, “You’re going to be Scala,” and I said, “What is Scala?” My first rehearsal was the next day! As it turns out, Scala is the disillusioned leader of the ballet’s handmaidens. She’s a servant with a chip on her shoulder. It’s a feisty, dramatic character!
DS: What do you think is most exciting about this piece?
GP: Knowing that Paul McCartney is composing a score for a ballet—specifically for us—is amazing. How could you not love Paul McCartney? And for Stella to be doing the costumes, making it a family affair, is wonderful. I’ve especially enjoyed working closely with Peter. It’s been a great chance for me to show him what I can do.
DS: Are you nervous about your debut?
GP: I’m sure nerves will come up, especially pertaining to the costumes. There’s talk of a big cape I’ll be dancing with, and some wings. I’m also nervous about dancing next to Sara Mearns, who is one of the top NYCB dancers—that’s a big pressure. But I’m up for the challenge and am enjoying defining my character. It will all come together by opening night.
DS: Why should people see Ocean’s Kingdom?
GP: First and foremost, see it for the dancers. NYCB has a brand-new generation of dancers rising through the ranks. The company is transforming. Then come for Stella’s amazing costumes. Her ideas are incredible, and she wants every look to be like a runway look. Peter’s choreography is going to be great and the score is breathtaking. It’s a dream team.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
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When it comes to injury-prone body parts, knees reign supreme for dancers. But a little strengthening can go a long way in preventing painful outcomes. We turned to Dirk Hartog, a physical therapist with Westside Dance Physical Therapy in NYC, for three exercises that'll support and stabilize your knees.
James Whiteside (Jayme Thornton for Dance Magazine)
Say you're perpetually impeccable designer Thom Browne. Say you're planning your Spring 2020 Paris menswear show along a "Versailles country club" theme. Say you want a world-class danseur to open the show with some kind of appropriately fabulous choreography.
Who do you call? James Whiteside, of course. On Saturday, the American Ballet Theatre principal—wearing pointe shoes and a glorious pinstriped tutu—kicked off Browne's presentation at the École des Beaux-Arts with a 15-minute, show-stealing solo. Whiteside choreographed the piece himself, with the help of detailed notes from the designer.